If you've ever been out with your friends and then looked up to see them all playing on their phones, then boy do I have the primetime show for you! Just in time to take on Season 7 of Game of Thrones on Sunday nights is CBS' Candy Crush, a TV game show adaptation of the insanely popular and mind-numbing mobile phone game of the same name.
But how does a Candy Crush television show work? Thanks to CBS being rather coy about what the show is and not handing out advanced screeners, no one really knew. And after watching the premiere episode, it's still not clear. But I braved the air waves and candy-shaped emojis for you, and here's what I found out.
It's hosted by Mario Lopez!
I mean, obviously we already knew that from commercials, but it can never be overstated that this is exactly the perfect fit for Lopez. It's a step up from H8R, right? At least a sidestep?
It features celebrity contestants!
Well, the first episode did. And when I say celebrity, I mean "celebrity." Woo, Jeremy, Joe and Kelly from Survivor, and Da'vonne, Paul, Frankie and Caleb from Big Brother were contestants in the premiere episode. It really helped tie in the night, as Big Brother was Candy Crush's lead in. That's probably it for the celeb factor, though; the next episode will feature regular people.
The show is basically watching other people play Candy Crush
Four teams of two step out into the lavish set and fist pump and "Whoooo!" until they're red in the face, and then they play Candy Crush on massive touch screens. What did you think it would be? There are some wrinkles, like challenges to jump through nets of "licorice" or tossing candies into a bucket, but it all results in the same thing: run to the board and swipe some e-candies. Teams that win challenges then get to pick one of four main ways to... play more Candy Crush. In the $10,000 winner-take-all finals, called the Candy Clash, teams battle against each other... by playing more Candy Crush.
The rules don't apply
One of the four main scoring opportunities was a stage called "Spin Cycle" and was explained as such: a team of two was to be suspended from the same line-and-harness with each facing a different direction in front of the massive touchscreen. After one team member swiped candies, they would be spun around and the other contestant would end up facing the board, allowing them to alternate swipes. But in practice, it was just two guys suspended and swiping like crazy. A few more rounds in beta testing probably would have done the show some good.
Commentating on live Candy Crushing is very hard
So what's going on while you're watching people play Candy Crush? Lopez is doing his best to explain the action with gems like, "Remember, just line up three candies to make a match." Or "There's another match." And "Whoa, that swipe got them three matches!" Even the adrenaline-pumping "Now they're swiping!" And the saddest one that only extended the suffering: "That match got them another five seconds."
It crushed it in overnight ratings
How candy-starved are we as a nation for television during the summer? Candy Crush won its timeslot Sunday night with a 1.1 rating in the 18-49 demo, beating out all other network offerings. To be fair, Steve Harvey's Funderdome — what the &#@! is Steve Harvey's Funderdome? — was its only major competition.
Candy Crush airs Sunday nights at 9/8c on CBS.